Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Handguns - Don't Bite Your Tongue
Handguns is another band that I didn't know jack shit about before taking on this review. My friend Matthew McCarry put a couple of their songs on a mixtape he made for me, and I could tell right away that I liked them a lot more than the Taylor Swift song he put on the mix (wtf bro?). Now I only know a couple things about them. I know they're from Pennsylvania...like so many other good fucking bands (Captain We're Sinking, Menzingers, Wonder Years), they're really talented and catchy, and they kind of remind me of what it would be like if Blink 182 were born 10 years later, and didn't find dick jokes nearly as funny. For 2011, Handguns have brought us a brand new album, and not a single moment too soon. I've been needing some new shit to get into. (If Ben Seitz is reading this, I'm sorry dude...this isn't the negative review you were hoping to read. Not that you assumed this band sucked, you've just been begging for us to trash some albums.)
Don't Bite Your Tongue, Handguns's early 2011 release, starts off with leads a blazin' on the first track "A Year In Review". You know what's refreshing about this style of pop punk? The lead part is NOT just the vocal melody. If you're looking for a new ramonescore to dig on, you're barking up the wrong tree. If you're still interested in catchy vocals with something a bit more popular 90s music in the style, then you're getting a little bit closer. The first track is forgettable, but I may need to contact a neurosurgeon about getting the second song "Scream Goodbye" unstuck in my fucking skull. The song is what I mean by sounding like a mature Blink 182 without the money and connections. It has the poppy edge without sounding like they blew some recording engineers for top and the line shit. The quality is definitely on the higher end of the punk scene, but we're not talking epifat quality or anything. You can hear everything fine (except for a rather quiet bass), and it still has a punk edge to it. I really thought that song was catchy, but I don't know if it holds a torch to the song after it, "Sink Like Lead". This song kind of reminds me more of Charlie Brown Gets a Valentine and The Copyrights if they had a high pitched singer. The drums on this track are really solid, and everything sounds real as fuck. The recording quality really makes me want to steal a working car and get to one of their shows immediately.
"Best Excuse" isn't the best song. I don't have anything against the Warped Tour band style that it represents at the beginning, but I think the singer's voice doesn't hold its own during the intro. It's not a bad song, but I don't find his voice to be all that powerful...and this is supposed to be a pretty vocal driven song. It kind of reminds me of listening to Who We Are by We Are the Union, and a song would come on that relied on Reed's talent as a vocalist, and there just wasn't enough yet. However, Reed got way better by their next full length, and this guy is definitely a better singer than Reed was then and I am now. So I can't talk shit, and I still think his voice is pretty fly for a white guy. Room for improvement, but that'll happen with all the hardwork these guys put into their band. These guys sound a lot like the movielife and Lifetime. They even list their influences on facebook as the movielifetime. Which sounds like a sweet answer for a Wheel of Fortune Before and After category.
"Gag Reflex" is another song to remind you that you're listening to a band with a real fucking drummer on the recordings. This isn't War on Errorism (by the way, did that title really mean that they were fighting a war against mistakes made my drummers? Fake it 'til you make it kids, don't fake it once you make it. Once again, it's Nofx's job to keep punk rock elite, not mine...or so I thought). This drummer has talent and I love hearing his work on these fast paced songs. This song kind of makes me feel weird for judging the singer before, because his voice works just fine here. The next song "Wait Up" reminds me more of Direct Hit! minus the keyboard and gruff vocals. It's catchy, poppy, energetic, and it's punk. It definitely has that Blink 182-core I've mentioned already, but I'm not holding that against them. This is definitely a band I'll be listening to a lot over the next few weeks or so. There's a somber overtone in the vocals throughout the majority of this release, and it's mood fitting for me right now, so I'm digging it.
I mean, the last song "I Hope He Kills You" starts off sounding somber and kicks into this happy sounding pop-punk shit. It sounds a lot like Good Charlotte to me, and reminds me a lot of their song My Bloody Valentine. So guess what, they also strike a nostalgia-chord with me. I remember being in 8th grade, walking around the neighborhood with my CD walkman, listening to my friend Amberly's copy of the Young and the Hopeless, blasting that song on repeat with my headphones on. What the fuck was wrong with me? Do you have Don't Bite Your Tongue in your hands or on your computer yet? If your answer is no, what the fuck is wrong with you? Get it. If you grew up on the same shit I did, you'll enjoy it. If you enjoy good music without having any shitty prerequisites or reservations, then get it. You can find it up on bandcamp or you can possibly find it at your local Hot Topic (yeah, I know...store sucks. but you can support a cool band).
PS: I don't know how I didn't make the Good Charlotte correlation much earlier now that I'm thinking about it.